Myanmar’s Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) has voted in favour of a proposal by President U Htin Kyaw (pictured) which would see the country join a tourism coordination project for the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), reports Myanmar Times.
While MPs were keen to greenlight the initiative, which is expected to provide a boost to the country’s burgeoning tourism industry, they also urged the Minister for Tourism U Ohn Maung to implement the project in a sustainable way, while being mindful of some of the potential pitfalls of greater regional integration.
“We must carefully ensure that we don’t lose valuable ancient resources or expose our country to contagious diseases,” said MP U Maung Maung Latt.
MP U Han Win Thein also asked the government to confront the issue of sex tourism and what higher tourist numbers may mean for clandestine sex work in the country.
The nine MPs who debated the president’s proposal presented ideas to the Minister for Tourism about potential tourist destinations that could be emphasised under the new regional strategy, including elephant-based tourism in the Bago mountain range and island-hopping adventures in the Tanintharyi region.
Tourism Minister U Ohn Maung agreed to take all of the MPs suggestions and concerns into consideration and said: “Our ministry will do all it can for the health and security of travellers,” he said.
In order to coordinate the implementation of a Greater Mekong tourism strategy, minister U Ohn Maung confirmed that an office will be established in Bangkok [presumed to be the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office].